The new operator of the National Lottery made an operating profit of €7.4m against the background of declining sales.
Accounts by Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) Ltd for its first full year of operating the lottery show sales fell 2.5% to €670.4m.
However, the new accounts also show a pre-tax loss of €20.1m in 2015 due to €27.5m in finance expenses. In late 2014, PLI had paid €405m to operate the licence for 20 years.
The PLI consortium includes An Post and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The pension fund also owns UK operator Camelot.
According to PLI, over 1.4m people played National Lottery games last year on a regular basis, representing over 42% of the adult population.
The sales drop came after revenues had risen in the previous year.
The Lottery increased the cost of playing last September, the first rise in nine years, with the price of a minimum two-line play increasing from €3 to €4. Two numbers were added to a total of 47 in the new draw.
At the time, PLI said the changes would improve the odds of winning any prize and would deliver 10 jackpots of €10m a year compared to the two big payouts at the time. PLI’s biggest payout was a €13.79m jackpot on January 23 to a ticket sold in Belmullet.
It paid out €381m in prize money last year. As a percentage of sales, prize money accounted for 56.8% in 2015 compared with the 56.3% paid out by the former lottery operator for the first 11 months of 2014. Before the new license, An Post was the sole operator since 1986.
Under the terms of the new licence, 65% of gross gaming revenue — defined as sales after prizes have been paid out — was paid to fund ‘good causes’. PLI generated funds to ‘good causes’ of €188m.
So-called draw-based games generated €482.5m in sales, while scratch card sales made a record of €187.9m.
It expanded its retail outlets 8% to 4,000 outlets. Total operating costs were €93.9m, including €41.9m in commission paid to retailers. Online players surged from 140,000 to over 225,000 by the end of 2015 and earned €23m.
Staff costs last year totalled €7.7m while key management personnel costs amounted to €1.2m. Lottery employs 90 people.
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